How rural schools are affected by the school tax levy cap

Local News

BINGHAMTON, NY – Last month, New York State set the school district tax levy cap for the 2020-2021 fiscal year at 1 point 81%.

According to the state comptroller’s office, that’s down from the 2 percent cap of the 2 previous years.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on how it could affect schools, especially in rural areas.

When it comes to how the state sets the tax levy cap for school districts, David Little with the Rural Schools Association of New York State says there are a couple factors.

((David Little, Rural Schools Association of NYS Executive Director))
They gave it kind of this other option of it’s either 2 percent or if it’s lower, the Consumer Price Index.

And, this year the consumer price index drove the cap down to 1.8%.

The State Comptroller said in a statement:
“As the levy growth rate dips below 2 percent, school district and municipal officials need to be fiscally cautious and examine where they can limit spending to stay under the cap,” says the Comptroller.

“Local governments will have to examine their budgets more closely to control expenses.”

((Corina Cappabianca, NYS Capitol Correspondent))
Little says with retirement system contributions, employee healthcare and bus costs this can be difficult for schools.

((David Little, Rural Schools Association of NYS Executive Director))
they don’t have the same kind of consumer costs so eliminating them to the cost that consumers pay has always been problematic.

The school district budgets that stay within the cap need a regular majority vote to go through.
If they go over, they need a 60 percent vote.

Little says for rural school districts looking to keep people:

((David Little, Rural Schools Association of NYS Executive Director))
21:08:00 they don’t have a lot of taxing capacity within their school districts. So there’s not a lot of people and there’s not a lot of businesses left to tax there.

According to the Comptroller’s Office the cap was first applied in 2012.

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